Transcriptional activation of inflammatory genes: Mechanistic insight into selectivity and diversity

Afsar U. Ahmed, Bryan R. G. Williams, Gregory Hannigan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


Acute inflammation, an integral part of host defence and immunity, is a highly conserved cellular response to pathogens and other harmful stimuli. An inflammatory stimulation triggers transcriptional activation of selective pro-inflammatory genes that carry out specific functions such as anti-microbial activity or tissue healing. Based on the nature of inflammatory stimuli, an extensive exploitation of selective transcriptional activations of pro-inflammatory genes is performed by the host to ensure a defined inflammatory response. Inflammatory signal transductions are initiated by the recognition of inflammatory stimuli by transmembrane receptors, followed by the transmission of the signals to the nucleus for differential gene activations. The differential transcriptional activation of pro-inflammatory genes is precisely controlled by the selective binding of transcription factors to the promoters of these genes. Among a number of transcription factors identified to date, NF-κB still remains the most prominent and studied factor for its diverse range of selective transcriptional activities. Differential transcriptional activities of NF-κB are dictated by post-translational modifications, specificities in dimer formation, and variability in activation kinetics. Apart from the differential functions of transcription factors, the transcriptional activation of selective pro-inflammatory genes is also governed by chromatin structures, epigenetic markers, and other regulators as the field is continuously expanding.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3087-3111
Number of pages25
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 11 Nov 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Chromatin structures
  • Epigenetic markers
  • Inflammation
  • MAPK
  • NF-κB
  • Nucleosome remodeling
  • Pro-inflammatory genes
  • Transcriptional activation
  • Ubiquitination

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